design: my block for the blanket

I designed a block for the KarmaKnusDeken, the blanket we are making over at the Dutch Karma Swap Group on

it features two of my favourite stitches, both mock cables: the “Koffieboontje” a.k.a. Little Coffee Bean (right) and the Prickly Pear (left)

they look like stacked balls of wool of which we swap a lot in the group.

The Little Coffee Bean stitch is a stitch well known by traditional knitters in Holland. Everybody learned this stitch and used it in socks, back in the 19th and 20th century. It’s a faux rib and it is very stretchy. It does have a slipped stitch that is later passed over.

The Prickly Pear I took from a sock pattern that has been in my favourites since I (re)started knitting in 2009 and is one of the first patterns I favoured on the Prickly Pear Socks by Thayer Preece.

I used it in the orange waistband of my Oktober Vest too:

this is the Prickly Pear when made from a non-wool material:

it’s a cactus

My block has a bit of perfectionism in it: the balls are stacked upon a little ridge starting with a slipped stitch so there’s a little horizontal line underneath the ball. To do this the knitter has to reduce one stitch before starting the balls.

At the top, the stacks also have a little detail ending them. This meant playing around with the number of stitches a bit. That’s what the grey squares are: no stitch.

 you have no trouble reading Dutch, right? You know about ‘oksels’ already! 

the .pdf with the pattern can be found here, on Ravelry. It’s called ‘Bolletje Bolletje’.

‘bol’ means ‘ball’

‘-etje’ after a word means ‘little one’

so ‘bolletje bolletje’ means ‘little ball little ball’ and it echos a well known street hustling game called ‘balletje balletje’ where you have to guess which cup holds the ball.

(Additionally, ‘bal’ means ‘ball’ but a perfect round one, mostly for playing. ‘bol’ can be roundish and ‘bolletje’ is also used for ‘a roll of bread’ and for ‘a head’ especially the kind of heads you can cup your hand around affectionally. Cats and babies have perfect ‘bolletjes’!

use your ‘loaf of bread’ and petpetpet!

sorry…..I was saying?

right. Designing. It is fun! it takes more of your time then you planned. Because knitting doesn’t always behave and you often think of better things right when you are about to cast of. Designing one block means knitting four.

Anyway, this is the block and I am happy with it. So I put it online last Friday and the Karma Group sisters started knitting. And I learned a few things about being a designer. Fast. But more on that next Wednesday.

credits: picture of breadrolls by Santos, baby by Anoop, cat by Almansour, cactus by Capgros and Prickly Pear Socks by Thayer Preece from Other: mine.


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